Stanton Macdonald-Wright papers, 1907-1973

Macdonald-Wright, Stanton, b. 1890 d. 1973
Active in Los Angeles, Calif.

Collection size: Reels LA1 & LA5: 109 items.
Unfilmed: 3.1 linear ft.

Collection Summary: REELS LA1 & LA5: Brochure on the Santa Monica Library murals, 6 photographs of various panels while still in Macdonald-Wright's studio; a catalog of a 1939 Los Angeles exhibition, "Southern California Art Project"; a Master's thesis on Macdonald-Wright by Dori Jean Watson, University of California., L.A., (June 1957); and a scrapbook (reel LA 5) about his career, ca. 1910-1964, including photographs, catalogs, clippings, and articles.

UNMICROFILMED: Correspondence, 1909-1970s, including letters from Macdonald-Wright and his brother Willard Huntington Wright to their mother describing difficulties during wartime in London and establishing their careers, letters from Michel and Suzanne Seuplor, 1954-1966, photocopies of letters to Ann and John Summerfield, Mrs. Hugh (Bethany) Wilson, and to others, and miscellaneous letters received; Macdonald-Wright's diary from Paris, 1907; five journals (4 in. spiral notebooks), 1939-1973; writings, including "A Treatise on Color," containing palettes and color wheels, notes on "The Basis of Culture" and an unpublished autobipgraphy on Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Bittersweet: An Artist's Life, by David Nellis, 390 p, undated.; the book, The Future of Painting (1913) by Willard Wright; and printed material, including the catalog, Les Synchromistes: Morgan Russell et S. Macdonald-Wright Exposition du 27 Octobre au 8 Nov. 1913; writings and essays by Willard Wright, 1920-1925; notes; and Macdonald-Wright's blueprints for the Kineidoscope.

Biographical/Historical Note: Stanton MacDonald-Wright (1890-1973) was a painter in Los Angeles, Calif. Macdonald-Wright was a pioneer of chromatic abstraction. Born July 8, 1890 in Charlottesville, Va., he moved to Santa Monica, Calif. in 1909. He studied in France from 1907-1916, where he met artist Morgan Russell, with whom he developed a close working relationship and developed Synchromism. Macdonald-Wright returned to New York in 1916, and moved to Santa Monica in 1916, where he taught and exhibited widely. From 1935 to 1942 he served as director of the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project for Southern California, which was followed by a faculty position at UCLA and extended visits to Hawaii, Italy, and Japan. He died in 1973. Macdonald-Wright's brother, Willard Huntington Wright, was the author of "Modern Painting: Its Tendency and Meaning," (1915) and the "Future of Painting," (1923), turning later to mystery writing under the name S. S. Van Dine.

Material on reels LA1 and LA 5 lent for microfilming 1965 by Stanton Macdonald-Wright. An unpublished autobiography donated 1978 by David Nellis and additional unfilmed material was donated 1995 by Macdonald-Wright's widow, Jean Macdonald-Wright. Additions are expected.

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  • Microfilm reels LA 1 and LA 5 available at Archives of American Art offices through interlibrary loan.
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